Beth, Books Read, Reviews

See Bethie Read – The Art of Asking

Time for another book review! I just finished my book for book club and we got together yesterday to discuss it. The pick for this month was “The Art of Asking or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help” by Amanda Palmer. I actually chose the book for this month. I saw it on the list we had brainstormed when we first formed the book club and I was very intrigued. Nate and I had watched a TED talk by Amanda a couple of years ago and I found her so fascinating, I just knew I needed to read her book.

If you’re not familiar with Amanda Palmer, she is an independent music artist. She was part of the group The Dresden Dolls and now has a solo career. She is also married to author Neil Gaiman. She wrote this book to expand on the TED talk she gave a few years ago around the theme of what it means to ask for help and why it can be hard.

I enjoyed the book and found myself wanting to highlight different statements, but obviously it was a library book so that wasn’t possible. Not only does she touch on the theme of what it means to ask for help, she also talks about the desire to be seen. One paragraph that stood out to me was this “all of us come from some place of wanting to be seen, understood, accepted, connected. Every single one of us wants to be believed. Artists are just louder about it.” I thought about this in relation to blogging a little bit. We work hard to write posts, produce content and share our lives, but if someone doesn’t comment on our post, it can be hard to feel like we’re being seen. So, I understand and relate to her statement about how we all just want to be seen.

Another theme she touches on is how it took her a long time to feel real when it came to love. She quotes a few passages from the Velveteen Rabbit. Ultimately she felt she couldn’t accept financial help from her successful husband until she realized that his love made her real and that being real means it’s ok to ask for help. It’s kind of a touching point in the book.

Throughout entire book she shares how she started in the industry, the people she met along the way and experiences she’s had. She is definitely a unique person and I would never do some of the things she has done, but I really appreciated her thoughts on asking and accepting help and why that can be hard, especially for women. It is a definitely a book that will stop and make you think and reflect and I think that’s good sometimes.

My only complaint and caution if you pick up this book, she kind of goes back and forth between present day and her past a bit and you might not be able to figure out where you are in the timeline at times. The other thing is that there are no true “chapters” so to speak, so it can be hard to find a good spot to leave off if you need to walk away. Otherwise as I said, there were so many things she said I wish I could highlight because they really are food for thought. I may have to take some screenshots before this book goes back to the library!

And I’ll leave with a question, are you someone who has trouble asking for and accepting help?

14 thoughts on “See Bethie Read – The Art of Asking”

  1. This sounds like an interesting book! I’m definitely someone who falls into the category of a person who has trouble asking for help and accepting help. I wish I could get better with asking and accepting help.
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  2. I am reading a book that does exactly that – flip flops between past and present – and I do find it a bit distracting. It almost takes away from the story. I am terrible for asking for help. When you have a mental illness, people don’t come running to offer it and it’s hard to openly ask for it.
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  3. I saw you were reviewing Amanda Palmer and thought “uhhh, I can’t stand her”. I probably still can’t but I can identify with the whole “seeking validation” thing. It’s what I’m working on right now, letting my opinion sometimes be the only one that matters.
    I have a weird relationship with asking for help. There are times it comes a little to easy and times it’s very hard. It almost feels like I want people to see me struggle and overcome something to prove I’m a good mom (see above about learning to only need my own opinion on that). Drives my dad nuts because he had surgery earlier this summer and was only allowed to lift about 15 pounds for a while. Usually, C would ask him to carry her to the car when we visited. Instead, I would load up all our bags, put the baby in one arm and hold C’s hand in the other and barely fit through the door, rather than letting him take Madeline or a bag (both of which were under 15 pounds) because “I have to do this at home all the time” (even though I’d usually take a couple trips). It’s a weird pride thing. Thank goodness he’s allowed to carry C again!
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  4. I do sometimes struggle to ask for help. Or when I do ask for help I’m super apologetic about it. Even when the person offers! I tend to be kind of a control freak so sometimes (okay, lots of times) I prefer to just do things myself rather than have someone else (usually my husband) do things differently.
    I think I need to read this book, huh? 🙂
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  5. I’m okay with asking for help – but usually smaller things. If it was something big, then that might be tougher. I have an e-book of this one and I hope to read this soon. I saw Amanda play live once back when she was touring with Panic! At the Disco in The Dresden Dolls.
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  6. I am awful at this. He’s my “excuse.” Being chronically ill and knowing that its going to get worse, much worse, I want to save the help. I am always helping anyone who needs help in hopes of storing away the favors. Its probably going to majorly backfire on me, but I don’t wan the help just yet because I know eventually I will really need it. Does that make sense?

  7. I love a good book. I am trying to compile a list of books to start with Jason’s niece. She is 17. We are doing a book swap. This might be took old for her but maybe if you have some ideas . She is a mature 17.
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